Alan Theisen (b. 4 October 1981; Port Huron, Michigan) is a Ph.D. graduate assistant in the Department of Music Theory at the Florida State University.

Composing since the age of sixteen, he has produced a steadily growing body of work distinguished by its musical energy and concentration of expression.

Representative works by Theisen include a Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Variations on a Theme of Gretchaninov, Eclogue for flute, and the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra (premiered by soloist Lawrence Gwozdz and the Szczecin Philharmonic in 2004). Recent compositions and commissions include Ritorno for flute and cello and a Triple Concerto. Noted composer Dimitri Terzakis commends Theisen's oeuvre as being "the product of a unique talent."

As a saxophonist, Theisen has toured the United States and Canada with the Sax-Chamber Orchestra, performing at two World Saxophone Congresses (Montreal - 2000, Minneapolis - 2003). He studied the instrument with internationally-recognized performer Lawrence Gwozdz and participated in masterclasses with famed saxophone pioneer Jean-Marie Londeix. No stranger to the podium, Theisen has been a guest conductor with several ensembles.

In an effort to showcase both his own original compositions and pieces by other contemporary composers, he founded the Intégrales New Music Festival in 2005. Now an annual event, Intégrales NMF features world-premiere performances by nationally recognized musicians. Intégrales has expanded to include musical collaborations with artists, authors, and dancers. Theisen wrote his undergraduate thesis on György Ligeti's Piano Etudes, and has authored several papers on topics including Elliott Carter, film editing, composition as analysis, and Michael Brecker.

Other interests include mathematics, film criticism, and philosophy; in addition, Theisen has performed the role of Oberon in a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, for which he also wrote the incidental music.

Theisen lives with his wife (and puts up with their two cats) in Tallahassee, Florida.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
What's in a Name?

The recent discussion over at the S21 Composer's Forum has me pondering the titles of my compositions. Three thoughts:

1) My titles are generally boring (Triple Concerto, Sonata No. 1, Concerto, Prelude in A Minor, etc.). However, I do have my more original moments - Ritorno, Immer Fliessend, In Memoriam: Tonality (from Sardonic Suite), and Three Feline Miniatures. The name of my trio is also pretty neat: Trioesquisse, a play on the portmanteau title of Boulez's Messagesquisse.

2) I generally think of the title the same moment I write the first measure. Sometimes I try to change the title after the fact, but I usually return to my first idea or I change the piece completely. I've always had somewhat of a dramatic and literary flair to me; conceiving of the title usually helps me focus on the nature and scope of the compositional project.

3) My favorite title ever: Everette Minchew's Figment II: "Juggler's Fancy".